The last continental event of 2014, the EUBC European Junior Continental Boxing Championships is underway in the city of Anapa in Russia.
Following England’s defending champion Ryan Garner’s great success, the Irish and the Russian delegations also displayed their skills, winning all of their contests in the preliminary stage of the event.
Bout of the day
England’s best junior boxer Ryan Garner is one of the defending champion of the EUBC European Junior Continental Championships in Anapa, and the 16-year-old Featherweight class (57 kg) athlete will have to go through a tough draw to successfully defend his title.
He first had to meet with Latvia’s 15-year-old Edgars Korzenevskis who won the Heydar Aliyev Junior Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan and also arrived in Anapa with great expectations.
Garner needed to be at his very best to eliminate the younger Baltic opponent, but his footwork was better than the Latvian athlete, which was the main difference between them.
The English boxer won the bout by unanimous decision, but Korzenevskis is an athlete who needs to be watched in the future.
Team of the day
Ireland had four preliminary contests in Anapa, and their talented young hopes were able to win all of their fights.
Aaron McKenna was a gold medallist at the 2013 EUBC European Schoolboys Championships, and arrived in Anapa as a medal contender.
The 15-year-old Flyweight class (50 kg) boxer defeated France’s most experienced junior athlete, Mohamed Zeroual by unanimous decision, which means he advanced through to the quarter-finals.
Ireland’s second triumph was delivered by John Joe Nevin, and the 16-year-old Light Bantamweight class (52 kg) boxer was too strong for Estonia’s Pavel Kamanin, while his teammate Michael Nevin shocked Italy’s Alessandro Azzaro who claimed a bronze medal in the last edition of the EUBC European Junior Continental Championships one year ago.
The fourth Irish triumph was achieved by Brett McGinty, who has won six national titles in various age groups in the island, and the 16-year-old talented star defeated Hungary’s Laszlo Kozak by unanimous decision.
Surprise of the day
Lithuania’s two-time Junior National Champion Arturas Zinkovskij competed in the last edition of the AIBA Junior World Boxing Championships in Kiev where he fought at the Pinweight class (46 kg), and the 16-year-old Baltic boxer has since moved up two weight classes.
He was not the favourite against Azerbaijan’s Sarkhan Aliyev, but the Lithuanian boxer controlled the first two rounds, which was enough for him to beat his top rival in Anapa.
Ones to watch
Turkey’s EUBC European Schoolboys Championships silver medallist Tugrulhan Erdemir demonstrated his power against Czech Republic’s top junior athlete Artur Sachbazjan in the Bantamweight class (54 kg).
Russia’s EUBC European Schoolboy Champion Issa Yevloyev won the Yakov Visotskiy International Junior Tournament this year, and arrived in Anapa as a top favourite.
In spite of his golden dreams, he was too nervous in his opening bout on home soil and only narrowly won by split decision over Denmark’s Patrick Pedersen.
Another Light Welterweight class (63 kg) contest saw Hungary’s EUBC European Junior Continental Championships bronze medallist Mark Kontrecz defeat Serbia’s Djordje Bujusic.
Stat/Fact of the day
Europe’s biggest boxing power Russia is still perfect after the first part of the preliminaries in Anapa, where Estonia also won a bout after some poor years at the junior level.
Besides the strong Irish wins, the Georgian delegation also won four contests on Sunday.
The next day of the preliminaries will see the winners advance through to the quarter-finals.